Cheese Counter

The right cheese for your apero

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Whether you're at home or at work, the Swiss tradition of the apero is designed to be a sociable, pleasurable affair. No apero is complete without cheese – and rightly so! According to an old wive's tale, cheese seals the stomach at the end of a meal and can also open the palate in preparation for the treat that follows the apero.

A healthy alternative to crisps and nuts

Served as an appetizer, cheese offers a healthy alternative to crisps, nuts and savoury snacks. Instead of filling your guests up and making them thirsty from the start, cheese is less fatty and less salty than traditional snacks. It also helps to open the palate and stimulate the appetite, which was the original intention behind the apero. As an appetizer, cheese is best served on its own so that it can fulfil its function as a healthy alternative. However, if you wish to serve something else in addition, we would suggest olives or pistachios. A crunchy piece of baguette or slightly salty savoury snacks such as taralli or grissini will also complement the cheese well.

It's all in the presentation

The dry texture of hard and semi-hard cheeses makes them a particularly good choice for an aperitif.

Tête de Moine rosettes
The cylindrical Tête de Moine (`Monk's Head`) is a semi-hard, mould-ripened cheese with a very fine texture that melts slowly in the mouth. It is not cut, but instead shaved into thin, highly decorative rosettes using a special knife called a "girolle". It is important that the rosettes are prepared to order, otherwise they may dry out.

Rolls of Hobelkäse Alpine cheese
Hobelkäse is an extra-hard Alpine cheese and is usually shaved into thin slices using a cheese slicer and served as rolls. The rolls not only look incredibly beautiful, but they are also easy to eat as finger food.

Cubes of Sbrinz cheese
Sbrinz is another extra-hard cheese, which can be sliced into incredibly thin rolls like Hobelkäse after 18 months, or broken into chunks after 24 months.

The perfect accompaniment to your cheese appetizer

Light and digestible beverages complement cheese during an apero and stimulate the taste buds. As a general rule, the younger and milder the cheese, the lighter the wine. Similarly, the older and more powerful the cheese, the more aromatic the wine.

Tête de Moine, Hobelkäse and Sbrinz are among the semi-hard and hard cheeses with a wide range of flavours. The choice of wine depends on how aromatic, salty and fatty the cheese is. In general, these types of cheese have a high or very high salt and fat content as well as an intense flavour. This means that they can be served with more intense, complex white and red wines, such as a Gigondas, Petite Arvine or Brunello di Montalcino (Source: Mondovino)

When planning an apero, less is most definitely more. As each different type of cheese generally requires a different wine, you would be well advised to serve just one type of cheese along with its most complementary wine.

A special cheese & wine tip from a master cheesemaker

The perfect cheese for an apero...
`In my opinion, AlpSbrinz is the perfect cheese for an apero because it demonstrates all of the components required at the start of a meal – a little salt and a little fat to prepare the tongue and the palate in order to fully savour the flavour of the food and wine to come. Because AlpSbrinz undergoes a long ageing process and displays lots of spicy notes derived from various grasses and herbs, it is not heavy and is easy to digest. What's more, it is wonderful to watch fresh chunks of cheese being broken off a large piece of AlpSbrinz when being served.

… and the right wine
AlpSbrinz is one of the few cheeses that goes with all wines and grape varieties – from champagne and red wine to sweet wines such as Sauternes and port. Once again, this has to do with the balance of salt and fat in AlpSbrinz`.

Rolf Beeler, Master Cheesemaker

Summary: Your best bet for a tasty and healthy apero

Appetizing, easily digestible and a feast for the eyes – no one can resist this delicious and beautifully presented finger food!